15 Sep Guiding Clients to Restaurant Success
A restaurant broker can be your advocate during each stage of the leasing process
The restaurant business is more competitive than ever. In order to boost your chances for success in a crowded marketplace, it’s crucial to have a broker on your side who looks out for your interests. That’s my goal in representing each of my clients from the earliest conceptual stage of their business to the grand opening and beyond.
In working with clients to help them realize their restaurant endeavors, I assist them with site selection, market analysis, lease negotiation and more. But before I begin searching for a suitable location on behalf of my client, there are key details that I make sure are addressed. Let’s take a look at how I guide clients during the entire process.
Every prospective restaurant owner should begin by putting together a “lookbook.” A lookbook outlines the restaurant’s concept and business model, helping to put the client on solid standing with landlords during lease negotiations. The lookbook typically includes an overview of the uniqueness of the concept, business growth goals, bios and operating history of the owner and other partners, a food menu, among other information.
In addition, the owner should be prepared to demonstrate financial stability by providing bank statements and business and/or personal income tax documents. An owner who has previously operated a restaurant will be asked to provide profit and loss statements. The client will also need to give me a sense of their ideal customer audience as well as the average bill total per customer. Once this information is gathered, I can begin searching for sites in submarkets that support my client’s desired metrics.
Locating The Right Site
It’s important to present a client with a full range of site options to choose from. Thanks to my specialized focus on the restaurant sector and extensive knowledge of the real estate based on my client’s metrics, I have a good idea which areas are best suited to their business. I use proprietary industry databases to locate potential sites and determine availability.
Beyond that, I take advantage of my network of relationships in the market – including relationships with landlords and the brokerage community – to find out about sites that aren’t advertised in the market, or are coming to market in the near future. After an extensive search, I present a list of potential locations to my client with my comments and begin contacting landlords to begin the negotiation process.
Negotiating The Lease
During lease negotiations, I and my client’s attorney discuss the major deal points of the lease with the landlord. Once a draft lease is prepared, we carefully analyze it to ensure there aren’t any surprise pitfalls in the lease language that could damage the financial viability of my client’s business at any time during the lease term.
We keep the client informed during each step of the negotiation process, and if the client is interested, I put them in touch with some of my more experienced restaurateurs so they can get valuable perspective from a successful owner-operator. This approach has produced successful results for many of my clients, including Slutty Vegan, Gocha’s Breakfast Bar, Nancy’s Chicago Pizza, Old Lady Gang and several other concepts. Watching the success of restaurants like these is one of the most gratifying parts of my job.
Bryan Davis is a senior vice president for Ackerman Retail, a division of Ackerman & Co., Bryan works hard to become a valued member of your team, aligning your long-term goals with the bottom line. Bryan is recognized as one of Atlanta’s highest-producing retail services, retail medical and restaurant brokers. He attributes his success to his service-oriented and client-focused philosophy. Seeking Restaurant Retail Space, email Bryan today.